In a world where the Pope is calling for unity across religious lines, Muslims are killing each other and attacking Christians and Jews, the cry of the sixties and seventies of “peace and love toward everyone” is the battle cry of an American society which supports the daily murdering of unborn children, and religion in general is viewed as “just something to be part of … or not” … we need to ask some questions:
- How radical should people be about their beliefs?
- What should be our response to extreme living out of beliefs in other’s lives?
- Should we be living in a way that fits into the idea or “radical” or “unity”?
- Is our call as Christians to have unity with society or to be at war with society?
Especially in America today, we seem to support the idea that “everyone should just get along and accept other’s choices and beliefs”. Of course, that is only the position of those who support blatant attacks on Christianity and the Scriptures and only if you agree with them. If you disagree, then the battle rages fierce. The idea of “getting along” quickly goes out the window.
When it comes to the Vatican and it’s senior leader’s position on approaches to religion and society as a whole, it is clear that anything but a stance on the Scriptures is the obvious approach. Telling children their unbelieving parents certainly would be in heaven to avoid hurting their feelings with the truth. Claiming that Muslims and Christians serve the same god and even using the name “Allah” interchangeably with “God”. Professing the goal of all people should be unity regardless of their religion. This is the stance of the Pope.
Actually, many religious leaders – especially “Christian” leaders – have taken to this idea that “we are all brothers and sisters regardless of our ‘religion’”. Many pastors, priests, imams, and other religious leaders are pushing this idea. Who can blame them? Unity makes life seem good. Removes the tension of differing beliefs. Allows the focus to be on people and personal relationships rather than religious divisions. Sounds like the “good” thing to do. After all, we are supposed to care about others first…right?
The reality is, even the most conservative Christians often support the idea of passivism at some level or another where religion is concerned. If nothing else, almost all American Christians would conclude that it is OK for Islam believers to be such as long as they are “peaceful Muslims”. Do we forget so quickly that there is no such thing as a “peaceful Muslim”. The Koran commands that they kill Christians and others it identifies as “infidels” (Quran 2:191-193; 8:12;). So, anyone who claims to be Muslim, yet seeks peace with Christians, is not Muslim. They may agree with some tenets of Islamic faith, but they are not TRUE Muslims.
So why do we mislabel them as Muslims? Do we want the existence of “peaceful Islam”? Do we desire that there be a religion that shows itself a viable and peaceful alternative to hating and murdering Christians yet not be Christianity? If this is our hope and desire for Islam, maybe the question we should really be asking is: Why would I desire the success of deceiving others about what is true?
This may come as a shock, but I believe we should desire that Muslims be extreme and attempt to carry out every directive of the Koran. I desire that they would speak with 100% truth what their beliefs lead them to feel and desire. I want their speech and actions to completely line up with what they believe. Of course, this poses safety threats to me and my family. This poses safety issues for my pastor, my church, my friends, and many whom I love and care for.
I would conclude the same desire for those who are often referred to as “far left” or “radical democrats” or a host of other terms. They desire a socialistic society and legalized murder of children…I prefer they say it as such. They want to have control over healthcare options for all other people and determine who has the right to good healthcare and who deserves to die…I wish they would just spell it out. They feel it is ok to use illegal measures as long as they win in the end…they should just say it so boldly. I think many of the more conservative Christians I know feel the same way about the political front in America.
So the question is: Why don’t they just say and do what they really mean and want? The answer is about as obvious as can be: They would never win the people’s votes!! However, that doesn’t just apply to politics. It’s the same with religion. If all “Muslims” spoke hatred towards Christians and attempted to murder “the infidels”, the general population would not be able to refer to them as “a peaceful religion” and declare that only a select few are “extremists and radicals”. If the Pope stated the truth about the Scriptures and about Islam, he would not receive the popular vote of leaders around the world that he gains by telling fairy tales to children about their parents eternal residence and telling the world that Muslims and Christians all share the same god and that we are all brothers and sisters.
Truth is not what wins popularity contests. Deceit has been the tool to win among people and popularity nearly as long as the world has been around. However, it is not just being used among those who seek to do evil. Deception is being cloaked with kindness and love from many churches today. Many people are being told that Christianity is all about loving people where they are and not calling out their sin. Popular Christianity has become all about being part of the club and having all the nice things, money, and friends.
The truth is, that kind of “Christianity” is not Christianity at all. It is a lie and deception straight from the pits of hell. Nowhere in Scripture are we told as followers of Christ that we will have nice things, have money, or have a lot of friends in this world. We are told in Scripture that the poor and hated in this world will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Who is hated in this world? Those who tell the truth. Those who call sin what it is.
Consider John the Baptist. He was identified as the greatest of men born to a woman (Matthew 11:1-15) yet he was put to death for calling out sin (Matthew 14:1-12). John called Herod out for his inappropriate relationship with his brother’s wife. If this were happening in a local community today, many people (even in churches) would say it is wrong to publicly call out another’s sins. Yet Jesus calls the one who did this the greatest of men. Yet, Christians are sometimes the most guilty about wanting to silence the voices of those calling out the evil of sin and declaring the unpopular truth of the Gospel which requires us to not just “come as we are” but to change by declaring Jesus Lord and serve him.
Pastors and church leaders throughout America are choosing to seek to be popular and relevant in culture rather than being truthful and serving Kingdom of Christ as He commanded rather than how we think we can do it better. Churches are judging their work by the number of people in the pew on Sunday morning rather than the number of disciples ministering Monday thru Saturday in their communities. Christians are trying to win a popularity contest rather than taking up their crosses to follow Christ.
It is high time in America and around the world that we stop looking to the examples of society for how to serve Christ and go back to looking at the Scriptures. The examples we see throughout the word of God is that of disciples dying for their faith and often only having a few friends. They were not rich in things of this world, but they were rich in Spirit and Truth. They lived lives of sacrifice. Their love was shown by telling the truth about sin and the cure for it…not by “being nice to people” and “treating everyone like they belong”. We, as Christians, would be well-advised to stop letting the world tell us what “a Christian looks like” and start trusting the God we claim to serve by following the teaching He gave us in His word.
Jesus warned the church at Laodicea about being lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22). In America, we have become lukewarm. We go to church if it’s convenient on Sunday mornings or because our friends will be there or because there is a certain social status connected with the congregation. We might make it to Sunday school occasionally (because the kids really want to go see there friends). We even go to mid-week prayer meetings or small group meetings and pray for others and ask for prayers for ourselves and our loved ones. Throughout the rest of the week, we might even read our Bible and pray every day. We might even join in a local Bible study group of ladies or men from other churches. We might even invite someone to come to church…but we still look just like the rest of society.
We don’t take strong stances against sin. We read our bibles, but we don’t study. We invite people to church, but we don’t tell them the truth about sin and the Gospel solution….surely the pastor will do that part, right? We often cautiously avoid intense discussions about sin and Scripture so we won’t be seen as a “bible thumper”. We even avoid friendships with Christians who have been seen as the type that does call sin out…distancing ourselves from them so we won’t be seen as one of the “radical” or “extreme” Christians. Feel free to answer the four questions I posed at the opening of this article…I am only concerned with your answer to one question:
WHEN WILL YOU BECOME AS CONCERNED WITH WHAT JESUS THINKS OF YOUR ATTITUDE AS YOU ARE WITH SOCIETY’S OPINION OF YOU?
I for one hope that I can do better to live in such a way that Christ would view me as hot and on fire to serve Him as He has called me to do. I pray that I have the courage to not be popular with society but to tell others the truth about sin and God. I desire that others never have to wonder if I have told them the truth or simply what I thought they needed to hear to like me and be my friend. I hope that we share these goals and desires for our service to Christ.
To avoid the idea that I am saying we should just be angrily lashing out and attacking people about the sin in their lives, I need to make this final note. The Scriptural idea of addressing other people in sin is a desire to bring them to repentance and to an understanding of the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Addressing sin with other people is never to be about our personal vendetta or our feelings or opinions about someone or their choices. If ever we are approaching someone about sin for ourselves, we are joining them in sin – not helping them get away from sin. The only way we approach someone else’s sin in service to Christ is by approaching them with the goal of freeing them from the sin and revealing the truth of Christ to them. It needs to be about them….not us.